FROM THE "DHVAN" OP NASIR-I-KHITSKU.
[Tabriz edition in the British Museum (/Vnr. 798).)
PERSIAN LITERATURE BEFORE THE MONGOL INVASION
Bear before me to Khorasan, Zephyr, a kindly word,
To its Scholars and men of learning and not to the witless herd,
And having faithfully carried the message I bid these boar,
Bring me news of their doings, and tell me how they fare,
I, who was once as the cypress, now upon Fortune's wheel
Am broken and bent, you may tell them ; for thus doth Fortune deal,
Let not her specious promise you to destruction lure :
Ne'er was her covenant faithful ; ne'er was her pact secure.
The Diwan of
The Birth of Persian Literature. — It is important once
again to draw attention to the fact that, although for
many generations after the triumph of Islam Arabic was
the only vehicle of thought and literature, much of this
literature was the work of Persian intellects. As the
years passed and Persia recovered from the Arab invasion,
her native tongue began to reassert its claims, just as,
some centuries later in England, the despised language of
the conquered Saxons began to be used in preference to
the French of the Norman conquerors.
The birth of a post-Islamic Persian literature1 is
believed to date from the era of the Saffarid dynasty, and
constitutes one of its strongest claims to affectionate
remembrance. Dolatshah, the author of the famous
Lives of the Poets,, gives a charming anecdote in which
* For this chapter I have especially consulted Professor Browne's work. I have aUo
foww Perwn Utwtws by Claud Field of use.